It really happened. The big day came! And I am HOME!!!!
I about fainted when the PA told me this morning that there was a good chance I would be coming home today. I didn't want to believe her and get my hopes up, so I pretended all morning that what she really meant to say was "just one more day." It became more real, though, when Dr. Reid came into my room at 3:45pm and asked if I was ready to go home. I first made sure he wasn't pulling my leg, then I quickly answered "YES!" He gave my nurse, Teresa, the discharge papers and said he was done with me. And that was that. I have to come back Friday for an xray, the 26th for a follow-up with Dr. Reid, after that a follow-up with Dr. Pearl, my pulmonologist, then a consultation with my oncologist to talk about "What's next?" But you know something, I don't really care about all that at the moment because... I'm home. It was a little weird as I packed up my hospital room, threw my hospital gown in the hamper and put my "real" clothes back on. I felt myself slowly transforming from "patient Jamie" back to "normal everyday Jamie."
Jake snapped this picture of me, right after I came out of the bathroom, after changing out of my gown. It felt so good not being hooked up to anything. No tubes coming out of my body. No IVs. No catheters. The steri strips on my incision had been taken off. I was even wearing a bra. (gasp!) It was nice feeling 'human' again.
I began saying my goodbyes soon after changing my clothes. My first goodbye was to Andrea, my cute cardiac rehab therapist. (Ashley, of course you're my favorite. Andrea is my #2, just so we are clear on that. ;) ) She is wonderful, beautiful, and funny. So easy to talk to. I saw her twice a day and she helped make sure I didn't push too hard on the treadmill, reminding me to "slow it down" when I would try to push my speed up just a little higher and my heart rate started to go up a little too much. Oops.
Next I said goodbye to one of my favorite nurses, Teresa (my cute enema nurse.) I told her she could give me another one to celebrate me getting discharged, but we both decided to pass on that one. Teresa is such a sweetheart. She made my hospital stay so fun and kept the humor going every minute she was there with me. I adore her.
Teresa pushed me in a wheelchair down the hall and right in front of the nurses' station I saw about 15 nurses and CNAs lining up on both sides of the hallway. They cheered and clapped for me, and I felt like the Queen of the Fourth Floor. Teresa said she even felt like a princess and they weren't even cheering for her. These awesome people really became my family these past two weeks and I love them all and will never forget them! (Thanks Anne, Ann, and Ann E., Stacey, Patti, Devin, Gail, Jeff the RN and Jeff the Cardiac Rehab Therapist, Daniel, Melzie, Ilse, Daysi, Andrea, Joselyn, Renee, Audrey, Jean, Kelly, Aprille, Cam, Michelle, Ashley, Brittany, Desiree, Josh, Kate, Jerry, Lori Decker my PA, Devere my Pharmacist, and of course Teresa.)
We took the elevator down to the first floor and Jake ran to get the car. Teresa and I had a few moments to reminisce about the past two weeks, and we both were happy but a tad sad about me departing. I promised to come visit once I'm 100%, and I really will... or make a visit to her home in Syracuse. I could become her favorite patient stalker. ;)
Jake opened the door for me and helped me climb into the car. Teresa helped shut the door and I waved as we pulled away from the hospital. Bittersweet, but definitely more sweet. I left the hospital cancer-free!!!
We headed to Smith's Pharmacy before we went home so I would have my unlimited supply of happy pills. When Jake gave the pharmacist my prescriptions, he saw my medical report and asked if I was in an "industrial accident." Jake laughed. Hardly. Wonder why he said that? We picked up my pain meds and headed home. On the way up the hill to our house I noticed my cute friend, Selena, had turned her wreath on her door upside down, just because she knows how much I love crooked things, as noted HERE from a previous post. I actually made Jake stop at her house, pulled into her driveway, and I walked up to her door and fixed the stupid thing. It made me laugh. Probably a little too much. I had to hold my side so the stitches didn't pull. (Thanks Selena for my "welcome home gift." It was perfect!) We turned onto our street and pulled into our driveway. There was a huge "Welcome Home, Jamie" sign that Jake, my mom, and the kids had made. It was so sweet. Balloons were tied to the mailbox and the basketball stand. It was a homecoming fit for a queen. The kids ran outside, squealing, so excited to see me and have me home. Jake had to remind them to be 'gentle' with me. He has reminded me over and over how the next 3 weeks he's going to be on me like a hawk, reminding me to go slow and take it easy. (A lot easier said than done, but I'll work on it.) My mom gave me a big hug and kiss and we all went into the house together. Home Sweet Home.
I wanted to, once again, thank everyone for all the comments, thoughts, prayers, food, babysitting, letters, e-mails, checks, sweets, massages, baths, late night jamba juices, sandwiches, all the planning and preparation going into Saturday's yard sale, and so much more. I love you all. I really do. I know there are those out there reading who have never met me, but are thinking and praying for our family anyway. We feel those thoughts and prayers. Thank you.
The Schipaanboord Family
PS Here are some pics that didn't get posted over the past two weeks that I wanted to share. (Some are a tad graphic, just warning you.) Enjoy!
I'm a strong-willed woman, wife, mom of three, LDS, U of U grad, runner, gymnastics fanatic, card maker, piano player, slightly OCD, singer, chocolate lover, office manager, cancer survivor, and friend. I started this blog to keep in touch with family and friends, and it slowly turned into my own personal therapeutic outlet. Nothing better than typing out your thoughts, trying to make sense of life.